The body is unable to produce Vitamin C, which means it is an essential vitamin and has many important functions. It has been linked to a range of health benefits and is something that should be included in everyone’s diet.
Where can it be found?
Vitamin C can be found in a range of fruit and vegetables, including kale, bell peppers, kiwi fruit, broccoli, oranges, spinach, blackcurrants, potatoes and strawberries.
You can also take vitamin C as a supplement, but it is advised to get your vitamin intake from vitamin C rich foods. The recommended daily intake of vitamin C for adults aged 19-64 is 40mg. if you take any more than 1000mg of vitamin C per day, you may suffer from diarrhoea, flatulence and stomach pain.
A lack of vitamin C can lead to scurvy. Scurvy is rare as it is uncommon to not get any vitamin C in your diet but there are ways that can put you at a higher risk of getting scurvy. If you eat little to no food, then you may develop scurvy from a lack of vitamin C. This could be caused by treatments that make you sick, such as chemotherapy or could be caused by an eating disorder such as anorexia.
Despite the risks, it is uncommon to get scurvy, even people who do not eat very healthily as vitamin C is found in lots of food.
Strengthens the immune system – One of the top reasons people take or consume vitamin C is to boost their immunity because vitamin C plays a part in many areas of the immune system. Vitamin C helps encourage white blood cell production and allows the white blood cells to function more successfully whilst providing protection from free radicals and other harmful molecules. White blood cells help protect the body against infections.
Vitamin C is essential for the defence system for the skin and strengthens the skin barrier by acting as an antioxidant.
Help lower the risk of heart disease – Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death across the world. There are lots of different factors that can increase the risk of heart disease, but vitamin C may be able to help in reducing them.
By consuming a high but safe level of vitamin C per day it may reduce the risk of heart disease. However, if you already consume a diet that is full of vitamin-rich foods, then taking additional supplements may not provide heart health benefit.
Helps prevent iron deficiency – Iron is important because it plays a part in multiple bodily functions and is essential for the production of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body. By taking vitamin C, it can help enhance the absorption of iron from food.
This is good for those that eat a meat-free diet and struggle to absorb efficiently as meat is a prime source of iron.
Consuming 100mg of vitamin C can improve iron absorption by 67%. This level of absorption can help reduce the risk of anaemia in those who are vulnerable to iron deficiency.